Chinese-American political participation in US rising

16:36, July 22, 2010      

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Chinese-American political activity has been growing with increasing education levels and income, Stephen Sham, Mayor of Alhambra, California, told reporters with the China News Service on July 22.

The American population now numbers more than 300 million. The number of Asian-Americans is approaching 15 million, of which the number of Chinese-Americans is closing in on 3 million. The Chinese language has become the third most widely-used language in the United States after English and Spanish.

In education, among American people aged 25 years or older, 26 percent of males and 23 percent of females have a bachelor's degree or above, but the proportion is 53 percent and 44 percent, respectively, among Chinese-Americans.

Over the years, many Chinese Americans have made noteworthy achievements in business and academia, but their political participation lags, said Qi Lili, director of the Asian and Pacific Affairs Office of Montgomery County, Maryland.

The awareness of political participation is directly related to the history of migration, Sham said. The history of mainland Chinese immigrating to the United States is about 16 years, which is a relatively short time.

With rising education levels and economic status, many of them have discovered the importance of political participation.

The most striking political stars emerging in the American political area in recent years include Locke, Steven Chu, Lu Peining, the legendary Chinese American Obama's "Troika" and Judy Chu, the first Congresswoman of the Chinese-American Federation Congress. From members of Congress, state legislature to governors and mayors, Chinese participate in politics actively.

The second or third generations of American-born Chinese and the young Chinese who immigrated to the United States later are the main ones who take part in political activity. They understand politics and have more ambitions than previous generations.

For example, Evan Low, a fifth-generation American-born Chinese, was elected as mayor of Campbell, California in 2009 and became the youngest Asian-American mayor.

Generally, Chinese Americans actively getting involved in politics will help to protect their rights and interests and become a bridge to Sino-U.S. friendship.

By Liang Jun, People's Daily Online


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